The Supreme Court has by a unanimous decision struck out paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18 of Rojo Mettle-Nunoo’s witness statement.
It was the ruling of the court that these paragraphs had no foundation to the pleadings of the petition.
Lead counsels for the 1st and 2nd respondents raised concerns over some paragraphs in the witness statement of Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo.
They argued that about 23 paragraphs out of the 32 paragraphs witness statement were not part of the pleadings of the petitioner.
They also claimed the petitioner was using the backdoor to reintroduce matters already ruled on, by the seven-member panel.
According to Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, the first respondent, paragraphs 4 (part), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 (part), 16, 17 (part), 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 25, and 26 are either not based on the pleadings of the Petitioner, border on issues of authenticity, which have already been ruled on by the court, or seeking to “introduce new evidence through the backdoor”.
In his witness statement, Mr Mettle-Nunoo, accused the Chairperson of the election management body of acting in bad faith when she announced the presidential results, after having asked him and Dr Kpessa-Whyte to go and conference with their presidential candidate, Mr Mahama, on their qualms with the electoral process.
“Mrs Jean Mensa informed me that there had been a meeting held earlier in the day between the petitioner and the peace council, something I was unaware of at the time”.
“After I further drew her attention to some of the issues that were coming up in the interactions in the strong room, she said very directly that we should go and speak to the petitioner”.
“Having regard to her earlier reference to the meeting between the peace council and the petitioner, which she had obviously been briefed about, I took seriously, what she said”.
“I did not think that we, who were acting as agents of the petitioner, should be seen as taking positions which may be contrary to what the petitioner himself had conveyed in a meeting that I was unaware of with a body such as the peace council, which, I know has an important role in resolving disputes in connection with elections and calming tensions in the country. She indicated her own willingness to meet with the petitioner”, he wrote in the 32-point statement.
He continued: “I was also struck by the fact that she proposed that she would send a dispatch rider to help us get back to the headquarters of the EC ahead on time for her own exercise of her responsibilities. There was nothing in the discussion which could have given me any reason for doubting the word of the Chairperson of the EC. Indeed, having worked with her previously when I was a consultant to the IEA, I had no reason not to trust her. I took her at her word and I must say I was really shocked to realise how she had proceeded to make a declaration of results at a time when she knew that my colleague and I have left the premises at her instance. I can still remember her saying that she would even send a dispatch rider to hasten our return to the EC headquarters after our consultations with the petitioner”.
“Yet, my colleague and I realised with shock, when on our reaching the residence of the petitioner that the EC Chairperson was in the process of announcing the results. The petitioner naturally asked how this was possible when the same person had sent us with a message for him”.
“Attempts I made to reach the Chairperson of the EC by phone for clarification proved futile as she had turned off her phone. Clearly, the EC Chairperson had not been transparent and truthful and had taken advantage of the absence of the two representatives of the petitioner to make a premature and unconstitutional declaration. She acted with extreme bad faith, unfairly, unreasonably, and with no regard to due process”.
“I can still not believe she did what she did in the light of my experience over the years with elections in this country”.
“I have known that a declaration has to be transparent and the results must be justified by facts, figures and a transparent tally and collation of results. Clear errors, as have been admitted by the EC in this election, undermine the credibility of the whole and also casts grave doubts on the integrity of those assigned responsibilities for the free, fair and transparent conduct of elections. It is impossible to sweep these matters under the carpet”, he added.
But lawyer Akoto Ampaw wants all these portions struck out because they are not part of the pleadings or are new evidence the petitioner wants to reintroduce.
Lead counsel of the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata disagreed saying the witness statement from the witness, are part of the pleadings.
He said the respondents confronted Dr. Kpessa-Whyte when he mounted the witness box for cross-examination.
He said it is not enough in determining what is in issue, to refer only to pleadings.
He further disagreed with claims that the paragraphs were sneaked in in an attempt to correct some statements made by the second witness Dr. Kpessa-Whyte.
The court in its ruling read by the chair of the panel, Chief Justice, Justice Anin-Yeboah said paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18 be struck out but maintained all the other paragraphs.
”We have considered the submissions of both counsel and the testimony and pleadings in this petition. We are of the opinion that paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, and 18 ought to be struck out as they have no foundation in the pleadings or supported by the evidence and the same is hereby struck. The remaining paragraphs are maintained.”
Meanwhile, the witness Mr. Mettle-Nunoo was discharged due to his ill health.
The court says it will take his cross-examination on Monday, February 7, 2021.